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RIM acts to clarify BES and BlackBerry 10 incompatibility rumours

22 Aug 2012
RIM BlackBerry Dev Alpha device

RIM has moved to allay rumours that the next version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) will not support existing BlackBerry smartphones and will instead only support its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices.

Reports have been circulating online that BES 5.0.4, the next version of RIM's enterprise email and management platform due for release later this year, would only support devices based on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, while development of BES for older devices would be discontinued.

This would mean that customers who adopted BlackBerry 10 devices alongside existing handsets based on BlackBerry 7 OS or older would be forced to run BES 5.0.3 alongside BES 5.0.4, leading to inflated infrastructure running costs for customers.

In a statement sent out to the press, RIM said; "As we announced at BlackBerry World, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.4 will be available later this year and we will continue to maintain BlackBerry Enterprise Server well into the future."

However, a RIM spokesperson confirmed separately to V3 that BES 5.0.4 is simply an upgrade to the current BES that will continue to support existing BlackBerry devices.

Furthermore, RIM has already disclosed that its new BlackBerry 10 devices will be managed by the BlackBerry Device Service as part of the firm's Mobile Fusion strategy.

Under this system, existing BlackBerry smartphones will continue to be managed by the BES, while BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook devices will be managed by the BlackBerry Device Service, and a third Universal Device Service looks after iOS and Android devices, with future support for Windows Phone mooted.

All three of these management services are melded together under the aegis of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Studio, a single console administrators can use for managing mobile devices, according to RIM.

"It is the next generation BES, expanded to offer one consolidated administrative interface for effectively managing all mobile devices in your enterprise," said Peter Devenyi, senior vice president of Enterprise Software at RIM, speaking at the BlackBerry World conference in May.

RIM is largely pinning its hopes for the future on BlackBerry 10, which is not now expected until early 2013, when the first devices based on the software are due to ship.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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